On 84th anniversary of ‘Night of Broken Glass,’ Claims Conference relaunches campaign to educate on role antisemitic language played in Holocaust.
Holocaust survivors from around the world are warning about the reemergence of antisemitism as they mark the 84th anniversary on Wednesday of Kristallnacht — the “Night of Broken Glass” — when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany and Austria.
In the campaign #ItStartedWithWords by the organization that handles claims on behalf of Jews who suffered under the Nazis, several Holocaust survivors have recounted on video how antisemitic speech led to actions that nearly saw the mass extermination of Jews in Europe in the last century.
Among them is 90-year-old Eva Szepesi, a survivor of the Auschwitz death camp.
“It started for me when I was eight years old, and I could not understand why my best friends were shouting bad names at me,” she said.
Szepesi was shocked how her best friends could treat her like this, but soon the Jewish girl found herself fleeing from the Nazis before she was captured and deported to Auschwitz at age 12. Her parents and brother were murdered in Auschwitz.
On November 9, 1938, the Nazis, among them many ordinary Germans, killed at least 91 people and vandalized 7,500 Jewish businesses during Kristallnacht pogroms across Germany and Austria. They also burned more than 1,400 synagogues, according to Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Up to 30,000 Jewish men were arrested, many taken to Nazi death camps such as Dachau or Buchenwald. Hundreds more committed suicide or died as a result of the mistreatment in the camps years before the official mass deportations began.
By the end of World War II in 1945, the Nazis and their henchmen had murdered six million European Jews.